The role of product design in manufacturing industry, the latter defined as the business of making things continues to elude acceptance on recognizable terms. Design tends to be perceived as either the addition of an aesthetic quality to achieve consumer appeal or the nuts and bolts of production based upon practical application. Attempts to clarify the dichotomy may have, however, contributed to the notion that design is an appendage to the main purpose of the business and outside the normal criteria for managing success. Further, the invention of Design Management, peculiarly acceptable to U.K. and U.S.A. business, may have actually encouraged separation from other disciplines, particularly production. In addition, it has been proposed responsibility for the poor communication record of designers with non-design executives lies more with the design profession, as the lack of interest in the 1950's for marketing and computer expertise has not prevented these groups from gaining access to influence the decision making process. The difficulty possibly resides more in an assumption that if industry used designers more effectively, an improved trading performance would result. The regular failure of such a simplistic formula causes not only disappointment for those persuaded to try it, but also deflects attention from the real issue, which is the absence of lateral relationships at the design and production interface. The foundation of Japanese post-war success rests upon the attention given to the quality of sub-system interaction within the manufacturing matrix. The journey from the designer's drawing board to the market is long, demanding a concern for detail at every point of the manufacturing activity. A product is only as good as the quality of the individual parts and if commitment is lacking, the product's performance will be defective. The neglect of the design and production interface has become a major weakness and it is here that the principal need for the development of new attitudes is required.
|Date of Award||1985|